By Ludovic F. Rembert, Head of Research at Privacy Canada.
The Internet of Things, or IoT, is no longer in the stage of hype or anticipation that it once was. If anything, the IoT has now crossed over into mainstream commercial and business use.
A recent IDC report predicts connected devices could reach almost 75 billion globally by 2025. According to the report, the lion share of these devices will be connected to IoT platforms.
Furthermore, the data generated from these devices will reach 79.4 zettabytes1 by 2025 as well, with most of it coming from video and security surveillance. As the report explains, finding ways for the short- and long-term storage of the data is essential. Archiving and managing these vast volumes of data is of utmost importance too.
In this article, we’ll dive more into the details of the growth of the IoT and what its implications are for business and consumers.
The IoT, Data, and Storage
Now that the IoT is a part of various industries and applications, the resultant data from devices will pave the way for fresh opportunities and improved business outcomes.
The report stresses managing this data is crucial for delivering organizational insights, and that adopting the appropriate storage solutions will be imperative in the future. As the IoT becomes more acceptable for various applications, a critical success factor is the proper management of the data generated from IoT devices.
As part of its report, the IDC created a model to assess future levels of redundancy and storage requirements. The IDC forecasts a significant demand in permanent storage needs for 4k video data, which is set to reach 26,680 exabytes in the Asia/Pacific region by 2025.
There are multiple challenges related to IoT storage, with a lack of standardization being a primary concern. Currently, there are several storage options for data, with cloud among the most popular. However, no standard security protocols exist across the various methods.
The main advantage to storing IoT data in the cloud is that it offers a scalable way to connect, store, and analyze data with machine learning capabilities. Furthermore, the IoT ecosystem is designed to be able to add new devices seamlessly to existing cloud storage services.
The full version of the report also details how risk, compliance, and governance apply to storage solutions and the long-term storage of data.
The Influence of the IoT on Digital Transformation
The IDC report also touches on how the IoT will benefit businesses across multiple industries and sectors. The IoT serves as a significant part of the digital transformation that we are witnessing across multiple organizations.
In fact, over 90% of organizations are investing more into their digital transformation.
We witness this in numerous different areas: back end designs are becoming more sophisticated, UI interfaces increasingly intuitive, and there’s enhanced personalization. In addition, interfaces are interactive and creative, and the IoT’s data processing capabilities address the issue of scalability and reliability.
Further, web development is no longer a static device. Smart technology like apps, wearables, and watches are more prominent than ever before. Alexa and Google Assistant are further examples of where IoT is revolutionizing technology.
However, while the IoT holds much promise for the future of digital transformation, others argue that it makes the outlook for the sector more complex…and more vulnerable to cybercriminals.
Added Protection for IoT Devices
Markets and Markets estimate the IoT security market will be worth $12.5 billion in 2020, rising to $36 billion in 2025. According to the report, several factors are fueling growth such as:
- security concerns over critical infrastructure
- increased ransomware attacks
- data risks in IoT devices and networks
- stricter IoT security regulations
IoT security solutions must rise to the challenge of guarding private and public sectors from growing threats and cybercriminals. With cybercriminals capable of monitoring sensitive data belonging to enterprises and individuals, organizations have a need for additional security to manage these unified threats.
To optimize privacy and protect online data, organizations and their employees need to ensure connected devices that depend on IoT, such as smartphones and tablets have additional security standards in place.
With the growing use of IoT, both business and individual users need to consider potential security loopholes and how they can best guard their data. Many IoT users will already know of high profile IoT compromises, and even the FBI has issued a warning against such attacks.
There are several steps organizations can implement for added safety. Among other measures, the Tech Advisory suggests:
- Making passwords hard to guess. Many IoT users neglect this step and may not realize that the devices often use default passwords, making them easy to force.
- Updating firmware. As they would with other devices, IoT users should complete regular firmware updates to protect against new threats and vulnerabilities and to patch known issues.
- Unplugging devices. This is a simple step. However, it’s one that many IoT users neglect. Unplugging devices when not using them can lower the risk of an attack by giving hackers less opportunity to compromise a device.
However, there are other ways to guard IoT devices. Storing your IoT-related data in the cloud, as we discussed previously, is beneficial because cloud services normally use strong encryption measures.
A virtual private network (VPN) also uses similar encryption measures that you can use to hide data transferred across your home network. More specifically, VPN routers are often used to protect against two specific types of attacks: botnets and man in the middle attacks (MITM), which are increasingly common. However, compromises can also send spam emails and lead to data leaks that put sensitive information at risk.
If there is indeed a soaring increase in connected devices in the coming years, this will lead to the creation of enormous volumes of data and managing and archiving these vast swathes of data is essential.
The data from these devices will open new opportunities and better business outcomes. However, along with the advantages come the disadvantages. With cybercriminals keen to exploit data that is inherently vulnerable in most IoT devices, encryption and privacy will be all-important for businesses and individuals alike.
1 one Zettabyte equals one trillion Gigabytes